JANESVILLE, Wis. — Plants are popping up early all over the state, due to warm temperatures.

What You Need To Know

  • Wisconsin's warmer weather is causing plants to pop up sooner than usual 

  • At the Janesville Rotary Gardens, they're seeing buds up to four weeks ahead of schedule

  • If a cold snap came along, not all of them would survive 

At the Janesville Rotary Gardens, plants and buds are two to four weeks early. Horticulturist Michael Jesiolowski said lots of the plants believe winter is over.

“Snow drops are actually one of the very earliest flowering bulbs that we have here, and they’ve been popping up for probably the past three, maybe even four weeks,” he said. “They’ve been up for a while.”

He said the rollercoaster can give the plants whiplash.

“The fluctuations, that’s what’s really damaging to the plants,” Jesiolowski said. “When you have 70º, and then a week later it goes back down to the mid 20s or below freezing, it confuses the plants. The plants basically are not sure if it’s spring or winter. We’re actually calling it ‘sprinter’ this year, because it’s kind of both.”

Some of the gardens’ buds can withstand another taste of winter, if it comes. However, some of them cannot.

“The plants that are flowering right now, all these early plants, they can take the cold fairly well. If we get a cold snap that’s not too unreasonable, they’ll bounce back,” he said. “It’s the next wave of plants. If we start seeing the magnolias pop and things like that, then those plants are gonna get winter burned.”

He said they compared this year to last year, and they’ve gotten a lot of work done sooner this year.

While he looks forward to things budding again, he said warmer-trending winters scare him for the planet.

“With climate change, and everything we’re doing to our planet, it’s just worrisome,” he said. “How much more it’s gonna get worse, and what can we do to counteract it?”

Jesiolowski said at least with warmer weather, more people are enjoying the gardens earlier.